“30”: Adele’s new album is going to hit the children of divorce hard

yesIt happened when I was four years old. “Oh, that’s great,” said an old friend from school, when I told him how old he was when my parents split up. “At least you were young; I bet you hardly think about it now.” For a long time I thought that was true.

Like everyone else, I’ve been through my fair share of obstacles in life. But my parents’ divorce never felt like one of them. I was very young when it happened; I have never known anything different, so there were no major complications. It is also not a rare thing to live. Data from the Office for National Statistics indicate that the divorce rate The estimated rate in the UK is 42 per cent, meaning that more than one in three marriages will end in divorce, leaving hundreds and thousands of children growing up in broken homes.

How common all of this is is just one of the reasons children of divorce, like me, rarely consider the implications. But that could be about to change. Today, November 19, Adele releases her fourth studio album, 30 and, as has been well announced, it is about “divorce, baby”.

In 2019, the 33-year-old singer split from her husband, Simon Konecki, after less than a year of marriage. Adele has said that she hopes the album will provide some form of catharsis for Angelo, her nine-year-old son with Konecki.

“I felt like I wanted to explain to him, through this record, when he’s in his twenties or thirties, who I am and why I voluntarily chose to dismantle his entire life in pursuit of my own happiness,” he told British Vogue. “Sometimes it made him really unhappy. And that to me is a real wound that I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to heal.”

It is a wound that Adele examines deeply. On ‘Easy On Me’, the only single to come out before the album’s release, lyrics like “You can’t deny how hard I’ve tried, I changed who I was to put you both first” viscerally capture the pain that characterized the decision to the singer to end her marriage. Such words began to have an effect on fans coming from broken homes even before the full record was released.

“Realizing that Adele’s album is out in less than a week and that I will finally have to emotionally deal with my parents divorce listening to Adele,” one person tweeted. “Don’t let anyone talk to me when Adele’s album comes out because it’s about her explaining her divorce to her son from [nueve] years, and my VERY unresolved childhood trauma of my parents splitting up and my divided family is going to fully blossom and ruin me in the meantime,” someone else added.

Here’s the thing: Divorce is an obvious catastrophe for everyone involved. But, as adults, we tend to focus on the experiences of people we know who get divorced instead of acknowledging the long-term impact on those who have grown up with separated parents. There are numerous reasons for this, namely that we are more likely to witness the trauma of divorce if someone we know is going through one. But there’s also something to be said for how divorce has been normalized in our society to the point where, if it happened to your parents, it’s talked about with a similar flippancy to conversations about the weather.



If your parents are divorced, it is talked about with a lightness similar to conversations about the weather.

This seems strange when you consider how much research has highlighted the consequences of coming from a broken home. Sure, some studies have found that children of divorcees mature faster and become more independent. Others, however, have suggested that children of divorcees are more likely to suffer mental health problems, behavior problems and drug and alcohol dependence.

Also, children of divorces are more likely to encounter problems in their own romantic relationships. “Children of divorce can struggle in adult life with fear of abandonment and trust issues with their partners,” says Jayne Hale, relationship counselor at the charity tell. “Also, depending on how they experienced their parents’ communication with each other, before and after the divorce, they may later have difficulty communicating on an emotional level with their own partner.” They may also have a hard time being vulnerable around others and could deal with low self-esteem, adds Hale.

There are obvious ways that having divorced parents has impacted me: panic attacks whenever I hear them arguing, insomnia when my father remarried, and a prevailing sense of displacement whenever one of them moved house. But these are not things that are easily talked about or considered when trying to understand children’s experiences of divorce.

Instead, there is talk of having trouble settling down, being afraid of commitment, or having “daddy issues”, a sexist remark attributed to any woman (never a man) whose father abandoned them.

Of course, some of these may ring true, but for me, the experiences that I have found the most difficult are the ones that I would never have linked to divorce. Things that have come to light recently (thanks, therapy), like a perpetual need to belong and a propensity to isolate myself from others when I need them most. Then there is the deep-seated fear of divorcing myself, a feeling that can be completely paralyzing when it comes to forming and ending romantic relationships.

This is something that Adele, whose father abandoned her family when she was two years old, has even made reference to herself. “She made me very sad,” she told rolling stone realizing that their marriage was over. “So to have so many people I don’t know know that I hadn’t been able to make it work… it devastated me. She was embarrassed”.

Perhaps given how common divorce is, it’s only natural that we normalize it. But doing so to the extent that we also normalize the trauma that results from it is a problem, particularly if we are experiencing that trauma without knowing it, as I have for many years. I’m not saying that everything is better now that I know where my problems come from, but it certainly is reassuring and makes it easier to solve them.

I suspect today will be an emotional day for me and many others. Hearing Adele’s experiences and the messages she wants to send Angelo will be heartbreaking and will probably make me wish for similar clarity from my own parents. But, knowing the success of Adele’s records, it will also offer some hope that these important conversations will finally start on a global scale. And as a result, children of divorce may feel a little less alone, if only for a day.

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“30”: Adele’s new album is going to hit the children of divorce hard


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